TV Pick of the week: The GC
It doesn't matter which way you look at it, The GC is a Kiwi version of Jersey Shore. Especially in the first episode of the reality series that follows the lives, loves and partying ways of a bunch of 20-something Maori on the Gold Coast.
There is quite a bit of drinking, lots of heavily tattooed and muscular bods, and many tanned "aunties" (single girls) and "mumsies" (girlfriends) in skimpy bikinis talking about boys and what they are going to do tonight.
We also meet most of The GC crew, including lovable rogue Tame, a scaffolder and property investor whose favourite pastime is getting his "creep on" (scoring girls), and his best mates Zane and Jade, and their girlfriends Rosie and Jessi. They live together at "The Whare", a "gangsta as" apartment on the 40th floor of a Broadbeach high-rise where much of the drama unfolds.
Sounds like Jersey Shore, doesn't it? Although, it has to be said, The GC is not as cheap and sleazy as the American series. There is a deeper social experiment going on here, and it's a real-life look at the Kiwi brain drain to Australia in action.
Yes, they spend much of their pay packet on partying and having fun (although Tame claims he can get into most places free and even get drinks on the house). But the majority of this lot are enterprising and business-focused. They all firmly believe the Gold Coast is the place to be if they want to get ahead since it offers opportunities and money-earning potential that New Zealand cannot match.
Not that they shun their homeland. Many are in touch with their culture. But this lot love living on the Gold Coast. The weather is good, the lifestyle a breeze, and the "aunties" ain't bad, either (just ask Tame).
Apart from the showbiz types like entertainer Nuz and singer Jade-Louise (who performed on X Factor Australia together), and glamour models Rosie and Jessi, they are mostly new to being filmed. But all of them are naturals in front of the camera.
And they sure make a point of looking good, especially the boys, who preen themselves silly much of the time doing things like oiling their skin. In the first episode, Rosie and Jessi take great delight in revealing the boys take far longer than they do to get ready to go out.
Another thing you need to get to grips with before sitting down to watch The GC is the lingo. Aunties, mumsies and creep on you already know. But then there is "neff", as in nephew which is the Mozzie (aka Maori Aussie) equivalent of bro, although they also use bro, "publics" (hair down there), and "What doing?" (What's up?).
Once you've got those straight you are ready to get better acquainted with your new favourite Aussie whanau.
When: Wednesday, 8pm
What: The reality of the brain drain.
Food pick: New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker
They may be the best in their own kitchen but are they the best in the country? TV3's popular competitive baking show is back, and all ready to send you hunting for the flour and sieve.
Hosted once again by the flamboyant Colin Mathura-Jeffree, the series doubles the number of contestants, and a new judge, food scientist Julia Crownshaw, joins international baker and patissier Dean Brettschneider.
Tonight the contestants need to produce a signature dish with an innovative approach to flavours. They will be baking for the first time in a full commercial kitchen. Some will struggle with the ovens, some will struggle with the heat, and some will crumble under the pressure.
When: Thursday, 7.30pm
What: Taking bread from the kitchen to the nation.
Cultural pick: Atamira
This new six-part series brings feature-length Maori plays to the small screen.
It boasts an impressive array of New Zealand film industry talent, including producers Ainsley Gardiner and Katie Wolfe; actors Keisha Castle-Hughes and Rawiri Paratene; and directors Tammy Davis and Rachel House.
The series begins with Strange Resting Places. Set in Italy, it's about a young Maori soldier and an Italian deserter in World War II, how the complex emotional bonds of wartime affect them, and what they have in common.
It stars Paolo Rotondo, Rob Mokaraka and Maaka Pohatu, and also includes a behind-the-scenes feature. The five remaining plays will screen on Sundays at 8.30pm.
When: Sunday, 8.30pm
Where: Maori TV
What: Bringing contemporary Maori theatre to television.
Drama pick: The Devil's Mistress
If you're after a bit of bodice-ripping historical drama, then The Devil's Mistress (titled The Devil's Whore in Britain) will be just what you're after.
The two-part 2008 miniseries stars Dominic West, Michael Fassbender, John Simm and Andrea Riseborough in the story of a 17-year-old spirited aristocratic girl who finds herself embroiled in murder and misadventure, against the tumultuous backdrop of civil war.
Angelica Fanshawe decides to abandon her royal loyalties after her childhood sweetheart and first husband is executed and subsequently finds herself destitute and desperate. What follows is a rollicking tale combining key events of 17th century England, with all the tension of political disobedience.
When: Wednesday, 8.30pm
What: A saucy tale of the English Civil War.
Finale pick: Homeland
Talk about riveting and intense television. Is mysterious Marine and Iraqi prisoner of war Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) really a threat? Well, when he donned that suicide vest in last week's episode it was a sure thing. Then again, with all the twists and turns on this show, who knows?
Then there's unhinged, renegade CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) whose affair with Brody and other illicit tactics have now been exposed - and saw her lose her job. And Brody's fellow captive, Tom Walker, is still on the loose.
In the season finale of this Golden Globe winning drama there are many more twists and turns, and no doubt a few unanswered questions because season two is scheduled to screen in the United States later this year.
When: Monday, 8.30pm
What: All will be revealed. Possibly.